· Nov 8, 2021

Git for Shared Development Environments

If you're building solutions on IRIS and want to use Git, that's great! Just use VSCode with a local git repo and push your changes out to the server - it's that easy.

But what if:

  • You're collaborating with other developers on a shared, remote development environment and want to avoid concurrent editing of the same file
  • You're using editors based in the management portal for BPL, DTL, pivots, dashboards, etc. and want straightforward source control for your work
  • You're still using Studio for some things and/or occasionally jump back there from VSCode - or, your team has not yet fully embraced VSCode, and some team members still want to use Studio
  • You're working on a bunch of separate projects at the same time in the same namespace - say, several packages defined using the InterSystems Package Manager - and want to just work with all of them from one isfs editing view (rather than a bunch of distinct projects) with changes tracked in the proper git repo automatically

Then it wasn't so easy... until late last month, when we released Git for Shared Development Environments (Open Exchange / GitHub). You can get this extension using the InterSystems package manager:

zpm "install git-source-control"

Prior to this, the options for source control with Git were an old mostly-Windows-only, local development environment-only Git extension and a more recent Open Exchange project based on it but streamlining use a bit. There's also Port, which just deals with files and is version control system-agnostic.

What does git-source-control have that these packages don't?

  • Simple menu-based integration with git that works on any operating system
  • A git user interface to cover an expanding set of common git activities, without having to SSH over to the remote environment.
  • Concurrency control for multiple users working in the same environment at the same time. Once you make changes to a class/routine/etc., it's yours until you discard or commit your changes. (We do have ways around this when needed, though!)
  • Package manager-awareness: just zpm "load -dev /path/to/package" and, if /path/to/package/.git exists, changes to resources in your package will automatically be reflected in the right place on the server filesystem. The UI works with this too, based on the class/etc. from which it is launched.

All of this works from VSCode:


And Studio:


To give you control over and visual insight into your git repository:


We hope this enables your successful development of IRIS-based solutions, and welcome your feedback!

NOTE - To see the presentation launching this at the 2021 Global Summit, see this article:

Discussion (47)10
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I would just like to point out that any attenders of Virtual Summit who missed Tim's presentation can still access the replay here:

People who didn't attend Virtual Summit should stay tuned as the content will be published by InterSystems Learning Services and made available for everyone to watch.

Hi.  In the real world, solutions are often made up of multiple namespaces, and code that exists in multiple databases where some databases are shared. For example nsA (running in namespace A) uses code from dbA, and dbLib. nsB uses code from dbB and also dbLib.

I would have thought that the GIT repository (or export folder) should have the option of being  built using the source Database of the component as part of the name in the path:eg:




On export, export logic resolves the true physical location of an item. 

Seperate Git Repositories per namespace is not the answer iether, as we don't want the dbLib code duplicated in multiple repositories.

@Timothy Leavitt 
​​​​​​Can you think of an enhancement, to this code that aligns export folder with actual dbname of exported item ? I would suggest perhaps the configuration global holding the export path, to allow for some sort of special string (eg "%sourceDB%") which is resolved at runtime.

Thoughts ?


Agree with this 100% - the link @Timothy Leavitt shared is my post on this topic and would love to have your voice added to the discussion.

@Eduard Lebedyuk Generally agree your approach would be a good approach as well but the goal - having talked to Tim a bit - from my perspective/approach is to make this as seamless as possible for our low-code/no-code integration analysts and even engineers to a degree who can manage our shared-code libraries that are mapped to our integration namespaces from within the same repo as they are tightly intertwined.


As this is git support for shared development,  multiple developers log into and share the same, remote server - are they still individually able to create GIT branches ? How will the server's local git repository identify one users items from another's ? I guess I'm struggling to see how this would actually with branches.

Should the IRIS users log in as their own IRIS user account ? Is this required ?

Thanks - Steve

Yea branches are still possible and yes users should log in as their own users (this extension allows users to enter their own git and git to track commits properly)  - there is stash support to a degree and the ability for branching but given the nature of IRIS being “trunk-based development” at its core, of course those branches still compile against the same IRIS namespace. 

But this extension will continue to improve and expand! I’ve been helping out where I can and providing suggestions from the standpoint of organizations that are traditional integration teams belonging to patient-care-centric healthcare orgs and Tim and his team are doing an amazing job. 

please be sure to join the discussions occurring at GitHub, try out the extension to get a feel for it and provide your voice to the continuing expansion of the extension! We’ve made some tremendous strides via this process and I’m excited to see the evolution!

Hi @Timothy Leavitt !

Trying git-source-control for client-side development. A lot works well!

Have a question though: I need to restart docker and have git-source-control set up. I exported the settings in ^SYS global and import it during docker build but source control doesn't seem working. 

Do I need to turn on anything else? Any other global or setting need to be made?

Turned out, the following call should be executed to let source control start working:

do ##class(%Studio.SourceControl.Interface).SourceControlClassSet("SourceControl.Git.Extension")

Check Interoperability template to discover Git integration for Interoperability UI components. Production, Business Rules (old UI), Business Process and Data Transformations are supported.

Things to know:

1. Make sure the settings export changes in the folder you want, can be adjusted in the git-control UI.

2. Every Interoperability component should be first added to source control manually (in the git-control UI, add button).

3. Make sure you export the git-control settings too! They are in ^SYS global. @Timothy Leavitt , we also need source control for git-control settings ;) (Could be a ^git-control global name ?)

For now I use the following line to export it in a proper format and in a proper place, which I still call in a Terminal:

do $System.OBJ.Export("SYS*.GBL","/irisdev/app/src/gbl/SYS.xml",,.errors)

And I import it with the following setting in module.xml:

<Resource Name="SYS.GBL"/>,

a full module.xml example

4. @Timothy Leavitt , Would be great to have the UI to have the editable list of all the source-controlled elements. E.g. to easily transfer ^SYS global between projects. As the majority of settings for docker-enabled setups are the same, but the list of source-control elements is different.

@Guillaume Rongier , have a look! )

Whilst exploring how the company I work for could get source control up and running for our development environment I came across this announcement and am intrigued. However, I'm a bit confused about whether this is now out of support.

The link to the page here: has a line at the top stating "This application is not supported by InterSystems Corporation". The phrasing of this is ambiguous, I can't quite tell if it means that the product is out of support and that people shouldn't use it, or whether the product is just not maintained by InterSystems themselves.

I thought I'd give it a go, but installing the package manager crashes on installation while using the instructions found here: I did notice that there is an issue logged for it here:

Does anyone know whether this avenue for source control is effectively closed?

@Mathew Rimmington - this is an open source package which is written and maintained by InterSystems employees for the good of the Community, but doesn't have official support in the same way that customers have official support for InterSystems IRIS or HealthShare.  

This package is very much still strongly recommended for use and new sites are coming on board all the time.  We continue to invest in it and see it as a valuable tool for developers using a shared-dev model on InterSystems products.

In terms of the issue you are seeing, what InterSystems product are you using, and what specific version?  We will definitely help you work through the issues as much as we can.

CC: @Timothy Leavitt , @Pravin Barton 

Well...installing a ZPM registry require ZPM itself and internet connection.

Additionally, in environments with no internet connection adding a new server (or docker) with internet connection just to install a source control software does not sound like "a solution".

I understand that ZPM is simple and handy, but why not releasing a stand alone installer that can be downloaded and installed without ZPM?


Thank you for ll the info, I was able to install git-source-control and I'm....fighting testing it.

I think that the main problem with OEX software is the lack of information/details/documentation on how to install, configure and the use them.

Even ZPM itself suffer this problem, I found nowhere that a ZPM package can be downloaded as  tarball and installed using the load command.
Where is the url for downloading the the tarballs for the ZMP packages reported/documented?

The git-source-control has very (very, very....) limited documentation/information on any aspect, from configuration to usage. Often it's a reverse engineering activity  to figure out how it (should) work.
The feeling is that is a half backed software that has been abandoned.

Nevertheless I keeping fighting testing it.

These are good points. IPM(ZPM) is officially supported now by InterSystems, so I'm tagging @Bob Kuszewski and @Timothy Leavitt on providing more information.

Here is the current documentation of IPM and it contains the information on how to load from tarballs here.

As for the option to download the package tarball it is indeed not very documented as it is a relatively rare case that people cannot use Internet to install the community package. 

Tarball can be downloaded from the community IPM Registry REST API requested in a format:[package-name]/-/[package...

e.g. here is the URL for git-source-control:

Technically tarball downloading feature refers to ZPM Registry package, which is intended to host IPM packages. And as folks mentioned above you can use it as the private registry hosting in your organization with the option to proxy some public packages.

I filed the ticket to update the documentation on tarballs.

And I think it makes sense to add the link to tarball download in Open Exchange for IPM packages.

@Enrico Parisi I appreciate all of your feedback, and your patience. Regarding tarball installation, I've created another issue for git-source-control on that topic ( as well as one for IPM more generally (

git-source-control is not officially InterSystems-supported, though it is maintained by people at InterSystems as a service to the developer community. The project certainly has not been abandoned, and there's actually an ongoing effort this month/next to deal with some of the rough edges (now to include your observations around CSP application mapping configuration). I'm personally committed to making it not feel half-baked.